Not many apps can do what Spuul can do, but then again, this is not surprising considering the fact that video streaming apps are becoming rather popular. People want to watch a movie on their iPad when on the move or when tucked inside the blanket on a cold and lazy winter day, but cannot be bothered to transfer one from their PC most of the time! This is where an app like Spuul can come in quite handy, as long as you are a fan of Bollywood movies.
Interface: Updated, and much better
While we were reviewing the app, there was a major update that completely changed the UI. We had to start from scratch, not that it was too much of an issue. The new UI now opens in landscape mode by default, but the elements have remained largely similar to the previous version - the carousel switches between the select latest and top movies, and is the biggest visual pull on the main screen. Below that are various sub-categories, with horizontal scrolling.
For each movie listed on the home screen, there is the accompanying thumbnail image. Without overloading you with elements, the different sub-categories and the listings under each do give you a fairly good idea of the massive library of movies.
Tap on any movie thumbnail, and you go to the details page. You'll see a big image at the top of the page, followed by the storyline and the details of the movie, the option to watch the movie or watch the trailer and the ability to share this on Facebook and Twitter.
Overall, the interface is extremely neat, and the redone UI is a lot more polished and intuitive than the predecessor.
Library & Streaming: Good start, regional content needs to grow
Quite a few of the streaming apps we've run across have flattered to deceive, mostly because of the poor quality of video that ultimately makes it to your tablet or smartphone. There is no doubt that we have had some excellent performers in Starsports.com and Tata Sky’s Everywhere TV app, but, on the other hand, Dish Online and Ditto TV have disappointed. That was the root cause of the wariness with which we approached this app. However, I feel happy to report that Spuul can be added to the list with Star Sports and Everywhere TV, as an app that offers quality streaming. We tested it on a 2Mbps broadband connection, an 8Mbps connection and also on 3G - which offers extremely varied speeds and connectivity strength as you move along. All through, the streaming experience was smooth. Tap on Play Movie, and the playback starts in about 3 seconds. However, since this is streamed content, you cannot jump too far ahead in the timeline at any given point of time, with only the 8 Mbps plan offering a bigger headroom. On the iPad’s Retina Display, every movie looked crisp and vivid, irrespective of the brightness level. But, the best part is the consistency of the content quality, across all movies and TV shows.
The library itself is quite large, with a lot of the recent Bollywood flicks already available - the likes of 'D-Day' and 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara' available. There is an imposing list of movies, including some older ones as well.
We keep mentioning Bollywood flicks, but Spuul also has a fairly good range of regional language movies, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Punjabi. Since I am not well versed with those languages, I can only talk about the numbers that I see.
TV shows is something that still needs a lot of work since that library is not big enough, and at first glance, looks haphazardly put together. Yes, clearly the focus is on movies, but if you gotta have TV Shows in the package, it shouldn’t look this neglected!
Subscription: For what it offers, worth it
There are quite a few free to watch movies available on Spuul, to get you started. However, the real fun is with the premium subscription packages. One option asks you to pay Rs 270 per month, which allows access to all free and premium movies. The second package is the annual option for the same, costing Rs. 2700 per year. However, these subscriptions do not include what Spuul calls “Specials”, and you may have to pay additionally for those later.
Download or Not?
If you are a huge fan of Bollywood movies, this is one app that you must have on your iPhone or iPad or any Android device. The free service lets you browse and watch a selection of movies, while the premium subscriptions remove in-app advertising and let you access more movies. The app offers a massive movie library, but TV shows still need some improvement. Streaming quality on Wi-Fi and 3G is smooth, as long as you are getting good coverage. The redesigned UI is a lot smoother to use than before. We'd say download this app, if you are even slightly interested in Indian movies.